Central to the Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s collection is the 14 foot by 19 foot Chagall Tapestry. This tapestry is a centerpiece of the Museum’s permanent collection. Edie and Ollie Adelman contacted the Chagalls and the funds were provided by Evan Helfaer to honor Golda Meir. Chagall felt a great kinship to Golda (both were from the Pale of Settlement and had left the traditional milieu in which they were born).
In 1972, Chagall produced a gouache for The Prophet Jeremiah. Master weaver Yvette Cauquil-Prince translated this watercolor painting into a cartoon, or full-scale rendering, on the warp threads of a loom. The tapestry was manufactured by Turkish and Moroccan weavers. It took them eight months to produce the tapestry which became the first large-scale Chagall weaving in the United States.
In the early 1960s, Marc Chagall had several of his designs reproduced as tapestries. He designed three tapestries for the Great Hall of the Knesset (Isreali Parliament) and one for the Musée National Message Biblique Marc Chagall. These tapestries were manufactured by Gobelins studios in France. In 1964, Chagall met Yvette Cauquil-Prince. The two artists immediately began collaborating on large-scale tapestries. They produced 29 tapestries over a 20 years period.
Belgium-born artist, Yvette Cauquil-Prince produced more than 80 tapestries for major twentieth-century artists. She studied painting in Paris before training as a tapestry weaver. In 1959, she opened a studio in Paris where she developed new techniques and directed an increasingly large group of weavers. She also produced tapestries for Alexander Calder, Georges Braque, Max Ernst, Wassily Kandinsky, Roberto Matta, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Paul Klee and Pablo Picasso.
Our atrium features a 14 by 19 foot original Marc Chagall Tapestry, entitled “The Prophet Jeremiah”